Michael J. Fox says his Parkinson’s disease is ‘getting tougher’ and doesn’t think he’ll live to be 80
Michael J. Fox will appear in an upcoming episode of “CBS Sunday Morning.”
In excerpts of the interview published Friday, Fox spoke about living with Parkinson’s disease.
He said it’s “getting harder,” adding that he doesn’t expect to live past 80 years old.
Michael J. Fox said living with Parkinson’s disease is “getting harder” and speculated about how long he might live.
Fox opened up during an interview with Jane Pauley on “CBS Sunday Morning.” Though the interview will air Sunday, select excerpts from the conversation were released Friday. The actor, 61, was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 when he was 29.
When asked if he thinks Parkinson’s is “going to make the call for you,” Fox responded, “It’s banging on the door.”
“I’m not going to lie. It’s getting hard, it’s getting harder. It’s getting tougher. Every day it’s tougher. But that’s the way it is,” Fox said.
Fox, who created a Parkinson’s disease research foundation, went on to say that he’s broken several bones and has undergone surgery as the disease has progressed.
“I had spinal surgery. I had a tumor on my spine. And it was benign, but it messed up my walking. And then, started to break stuff. Broke this arm, and I broke this arm, I broke this elbow. I broke my face. I broke my hand,” Fox said.
The host asked Fox if he broke his bones falling, to which he replied that falling is a “big killer with Parkinson’s.”
“It’s falling, and aspirating food, and getting pneumonia. All these subtle ways that get ya.”
“You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s,” Fox said. “So I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. I’m not gonna be 80.”
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Symptoms can include tremors, limb stiffness, gait-and-balance problems, slowness of movement, and sleep disorders.
The National Institute on Aging reported that symptoms “usually begin gradually and worsen over time.” The institute reported that most people with Parkinson’s develop the disease after 60, but that around 5% to 10% experience onset before 50.
Fox has opened up about his daily experiences with Parkinson’s disease in the past, including in November 2021 when he spoke to AARP Magazine.
“Still, it’s hard to explain to people how lucky I am, because I also have Parkinson’s,” Fox told the outlet. “Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others. But the disease is this thing that’s attached to my life — it isn’t the driver.”
Other celebrities have publicly spoken about their Parkinson’s disease diagnoses. In January 2020, the rock legend Ozzy Osbourne revealed his diagnosis to fans during an interview with his family on “Good Morning America.”
“There’s so many different types of Parkinson’s,” Sharon Osbourne, his wife, told GMA. “It’s not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. And it’s like you have a good day, a good day, and then a really bad day.”
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